Now that I have enough students to do so, I have begun holding monthly group lessons with my students. I tried it a few times last year, but ended up with a poor turnout both times. Fortunately, now I have enough students to make it worth the effort. I call them “Piano Parties.”
Right now, any of my students under age 15 are invited. My youngest private students are 4, so this makes for a very wide range of ages! Eventually, my goal would be to split them into groups by age/level, but for now, I am just happy to give them some kind of group lessons. I am keeping them very fun and informal.
Our first one was a back-to-piano pizza party last month, and I completely forgot to blog about it. Oops! :) I’ll tell you about it now.
When I was lesson planning, I discovered that it is very challenging to find games/activities that work well with beginner to intermediate students over such a wide age range! I decided to stay away from activities about note reading, because many of my beginner students are still using pre-staff notation while the intermediate students are familiar with reading notes on the entire staff. I figured rhythm was a safer area, so that was the theme of our first Piano Party! Here is what we did:
- We introduced ourselves to each other.
- We played a Rhythm Memory Name Game. Each student creates a short rhythm example that will serve as their names. Students then “call” each other by clapping their own name, saying “calls,” and then clapping the name of another student.
- We played Rhythm Hopscotch (game idea by Sheryl Welles) in order to review the names/symbols of the basic rhythm values.
- We listened to a few students perform pieces.
- We played the Over The Edge game (pictured above), which is a fabulous game by Jennifer Fink from pianimation.com.
- To finish, we crafted a mini paper piano. I printed the blank templates, and we colored them ourselves with crayons (the one I made is pictured on the right). At group classes or music camps, I always make sure to give students some kind of worksheet or something to take home that day — which is what this paper piano project accomplished!
Our next piano party for October is tomorrow, and my plan is to do a composer lapbook study with them along with one or two games. It’s great that the lapbooks are so flexible. I won’t have to worry about the leveling of the lesson — students will absorb as much information as they are able to!
So, that is one of my latest projects — figuring out how to work group lessons. :) If you have any suggestions or ideas about running group lessons, please share! I would love to hear them!
P.S. – Today is the last day to enter the EasyScales giveaway! Please leave your comment before midnight tonight (EST). The winners will be announced tomorrow.